THE OVERLAND CAMPAIGN: No Turning Back

Lisa Tendrich Frank, Brooks D. Simpson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter recasts the military history of the Overland Campaign in ways that reveal the blurred boundaries between homefront and battlefront. The campaign, which took place in Virginia during spring 1864, began in the Wilderness and ended with Cold Harbor. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant directed major elements of the U.S. Army in operations against Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The contours of the fighting and its importance were shaped by the constant interaction of free Whites and enslaved African American civilians, men and women, as well as by the national political context in which Lincoln ran for and ultimately won reelection. As part of the campaign’s design, U.S. soldiers invaded homesteads, destroyed the landscapes of towns and farms, looted and foraged what they needed while they destroyed any surplus, and otherwise terrorized civilians by their presence. When the campaign ended, Grant’s forces had pinned Lee against Richmond and Petersburg, eventually leading to the capture of the Confederate capital the following April.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the American Civil War
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages451-467
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780190903053
ISBN (Print)9780190903060
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Battle of Cold Harbor
  • Battle of Spotsylvania
  • Battle of the Wilderness
  • civilians
  • Overland Campaign
  • Philip Sheridan
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Virginia
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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